2019 was a good year for Hindi cinema. Not only did the audience accept filmmakers who chose unconventional subjects, they also came out in huge numbers to watch movies in theaters, thus keeping the cash registers ringing.
With as many as sixteen films (War, Kabir Singh, Uri, Bharat, Mission Mangal, Housefull 4, Kesari, Total Dhamaal, Chhichhore, Super 30, Dream Girl, Gully Boy, Bala, De De Pyaar De, Avengers Endgame and The Lion King) in the 100-crore club, 2019 ended on a high with Good Newwz too crossing the Rs 100 crore mark. “It has been a fantastic year at the box office. Vis-a-vis 2018, we are up by 15 % in the annual cumulative box office. This primarily includes Hindi, dubbed into Hindi, English and English dubbed movies. It is the first time we have breached the Rs 5000 crore mark, and Good Newwz is still running well in theaters,” film trade analyst Girish Johar said.
With films like Uri: The Surgical Strike, Gully Boy, Kesari, Manikarnika, Badla and Total Dhamaal, the first quarter of 2019 witnessed a 20 per cent growth over the first quarter of 2018. These films did exceedingly well and thus proved to be profitable in a period which is traditionally considered a dull one. Johar said, “Vicky Kaushal’s January release Uri set the tone of 2019 right and the first quarter of the year was unusually good.”
Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor and Vicky Kaushal emerged as the star performers of 2019. All of them delivered top-notch performances which translated into good box office numbers. Akshay with Mission Mangal (Rs 202.98 crore), Housefull 4 (Rs 194.60 crore), Kesari (Rs 154.41 crore) and Good Newwz (Rs 117.10 crore) had a dream run at the box office. Akshay himself added Rs 669.09 crore to the total box office collection of 2019.
Following Akshay was Hrithik Roshan whose action-thriller War (Rs 317.91 crore) became the highest earner at ticket counters after Avengers Endgame which clocked in a collection of Rs 373.22 crore in India. Hrithik’s Super 30 ended its box office run with Rs 146.94 in earnings.
Ayushmann Khurrana’s Dream Girl (Rs 142.26 crore), Bala (Rs 116.80 crore) and Article 15 (Rs 65.45 crore) ensured his place in the list of the most bankable stars of Bollywood. Ranveer Singh’s Gully Boy amassed Rs 140.25 crore, and Vicky Kaushal’s Uri earned Rs 245.36 crore. Shahid Kapoor’s Kabir Singh had many takers and the film, despite all the criticism, became the second-highest earner with a collection of Rs 278.24 crore.
However, Salman Khan, despite earning big with his films Bharat and Dabangg 3, failed to impress the audience. Girish Johar noticed, “Star power is and will always work at the box office. The difference is, for instance, if earlier Salman Khan’s every action on the screen had his fans going gaga over him, now even when they see him in intense action sequences in Dabangg 3, they are not enjoying it because it’s illogical. Now, star power can only ensure a good opening but the future of a film depends on content.”
He added, “Even the commercial entertainers of top stars like Salman need full baked stories, and you cannot just hand over trash to the audience. Also, The Lion King’s (Rs 158.71 crore) success proves cinema has changed. It has no popular faces backing it, but it garnered such great numbers.”
While some smaller budget films like Chhichhore (Rs 153.09 crore), Luka Chuppi (Rs 94.75 crore) and Badla (Rs 87.99 crore) had a good run at the box office, big spectacles like Karan Johar’s Kalank and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Panipat, which looked promising, led to disappointment.
In all, 2019 proved to be a landmark year for Indian cinema, and the credit for the big box office numbers goes to the content of our movies.